When considering how best to combat muscle cramps, you just first understand the cause. Muscle cramps are painful, involuntary contractions of one or more muscles according MayoClinic.com. Besides the pain, muscle cramps can even leave you temporarily unable to use the affected muscles. The most common causes are overexertion of the muscles or dehydration from physical activity in hot weather. Certain medications or medical conditions can also be the culprits behind these unpleasant episodes.
It's always best to see your doctor if your muscles cramps are unusually intense or severe or if they begin to disturb your sleep. Most muscle cramps are milder than that, usually causing short bouts of intense discomfort. You can usually treat and relieve the pain of muscle cramps by simple stretching exercises and making sure you stay well hydrated.
Since another common cause of muscle cramps is having too little potassium in your system, the standard home remedy has been to eat bananas. Others recommend apples. According to nutritiondata.com, one medium banana has 12% of the US recommended daily allowance of potassium. One medium apple, on the other hand, has only 6%, making it the clear winner.
While MayoClinic.com does not list eating bananas as an option for treatment or prevention of muscle cramps, it appears that they may have a beneficial effect. Before consuming mass quantities of bananas, however, it might be best to consult your doctor to determine the cause of your muscle cramps and perhaps have your potassium levels checked. Potassium is a tricky nutrient because too much can be as harmful as too little.
Bananas are, however, a healthy option and can be a great part of a well balanced diet. Consuming them regularly in moderation provides a good source of several nutrients and isn't a bad idea for your overall health. As with anything else, moderation is the key.
If your muscle cramps are keeping you awake at night or are so severe that they're interfering with your daily life, it's definitely time to consult a doctor. If they can be controlled by simple measures that are good for you anyway like drinking plenty of fluids, doing gentle stretching exercises and eating nutritious foods including bananas, then you're well on your way to living a muscle cramp free life.
NOTE: The writer of this article is not a medical professional. Nothing in this article is intended to be used to diagnose or treat any disease or medical condition. If you have medical questions or health concerns, always consult your doctor.